By the time January rolls around, your fridge will probably be filled to the brim with dishes and ingredients stored in Tupperware from Thanksgiving, Christmas and maybe even New Years Eve. I know, I face this issue every holiday season, but with smart planning you’ll get to enjoy your festive meals all over again in different ways. The first most important tip to follow is if you know you’re not planning to eat your leftovers within four days, then you should store and date them properly and freeze immediately. Here are a few other tips for fresh unused or cooked ingredients.
You say potatoe, I say potato…
Use your left over roasted or boiled potatoes to make a fresh, tangy potato salad with parsley, green onions with a lemon vinaigrette, perfect as a side for lunch the next day!
Don’t go stale on me…
But if it happens, you can whizz up slices of bread with leftover herbs in your food processor to make herby breadcrumbs, then freeze or use on the spot to coat for veal escalope, my kids’ favourite. Or turn it into an instant dessert by buttering the slices, lining them up in a roasting pan and soaking them with milk. Sprinkle some cinnamon, then bake at 350 F for 20 minutes until golden. Eat them with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
Use your cheeseboard
Don’t throw away the rind of your Parmesan cheese, you can use it to add flavour to your risotto, soups or stews. Just don’t forget to take it out before serving. You can also grate a combination of your left over hard cheeses by crumbling a few soft cheeses, adding some nutmeg and Dijon mustard to create a rich, delicious sauce for cooked pasta or cauliflower.
Lettuce leaves go bad very fast in the fridge so when they start to start brown on the edges and go limp, stir fry your romaine, arugula, iceberg or gem with some garlic, sesame oil and soy sauce for an Asian-inspired side dish next to your grilled steak or chicken.
I love bananas and always buy them in a huge bunch but my kids never manage to eat them fast enough before they start going soft. So we still enjoy them but cutting them up in chunks and freezing them for their banana smoothies as an after-dinner treat or baked in muffins with bran as an on-the-go breakfast or a lunchbox snack.
Reuse your apples
When your apples start to brown, give them a new lease of life by cooking them. When the apples cool, place everything in the food processor and puree them, you can use it as apple sauce for healthy dessert or as a spread for your cheese sandwiches.
Make Salsa Verde or Pesto
Herbs is another ingredient that can be reused to add so much more flavor to your dishes. Clear out your fridge from all the unused fresh herbs such as basil, coriander, chives, tarragon, mint or parsley and process with lemon, capers and olive oil or pine-nuts, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Add on top of fish or chicken while baking or as a fresh salsa next to your grilled steak! So delicious!
How about some couscous?
I always have lots of leftover dried fruit and nuts from my Christmas recipes and parties so I usually chop them up and add them to fluffed up couscous or quinoa with feta, gouda, grilled chicken and a raspberry vinaigrette to make the perfect fall dinner salad. Yum!
By Lana Nasser